Bengaluru International Arts Festival 2013
Photos courtesy: BIAF
November 22, 2013
Bengaluru International Arts Festival stepped into its 6th edition at the city’s best art space National Gallery of Modern Art. The audience turned out with great enthusiasm even as the rain threatened to pour. Deepthi Sudhindra introduced the concept of this festival and gave a brief of the 5 years of performance of AIM which has initiated this festival. The inaugural lamp was lit by the luminaries of Bengaluru, B Jayshree, MP, Rajya Sabha and the legendary theatre artistes, Veeresh, President Academy of Music, Sarala Unnikrishnan, Regional Director, ICCR, and directors of the festival Dr. Suma Sudhindra and Veena Murthy Vijay.
There was a lineup of 3 performances. Preethi Sunder Raj presented contemporary dance ‘3 Lines’ depicting 3 short incidents of 3 different people in Bengaluru. Chhau is a traditional dance drama form prevalent in Eastern India. The complexity and fascination of this tradition lies in the fact that it represents the folk classical continuum. Gopal Prasad Dubey presented 3 dance numbers featuring colourful masks, costumes and graceful movements. The divine love and affection of Radha and Krishna was the theme of the dance. Another number depicted the beauty of the night with the moon and the stars shimmering, making this earth a beautiful planet. The third performance was the Sri Lankan Kandyan Dance. The vibrant dancers from Sri Lanka lit the stage with wonderful movements and synchronization.
The second day festivities at Freedom Park continued with great cheer as rainy weather gave way to sunshine. Vibrant and melodious voice of folk singers Vijay Kumar Jithuri and Rajguru Hoskote was presented by theatre artist Nagaraj. Both artistes rendered some rustic yet melodious numbers which had great philosophical meaning in our fast paced modern life. The audience joined in by clapping and cheering. The composition of Shishunala Sharifa on Durga was the concluding number welcoming the goddess for the ensuing Mysore Dussera. The second half of the evening had Sri Lankan dancers dressed as damsels enticing the audience to a grand rhapsody. They presented 5 dance numbers each one bringing out the essence of the Sri Lankan culture and ethos. They started with Pooja dance to invoke the blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
The tradition of Sri Lanka is to pray for the well being of the community. Naanu Murai, the dance depicting this was the highlight. Next was Pathure, a folk dance with wooden flaps; they danced clapping the wooden flaps making tick- tick sounds with the fast paced rhythmic steps in perfect synchronization. The next dance showed the change in style of presentation keeping in touch with the modern times. The last one was a tribal dance by the natives in the forests of the land. The dancers were in the best of their spirits and beautiful in their colourful ethnic costumes.
At Crowne Plaza Hotel lawns, there was a scintillating performance of Dollu Kunitha by Niranjanmurthy and troupe. The violin maestros Mysore M Nagaraj and Dr. Manjunath enthralled the crowd next. This was in association with Bangalore Literature Festival. The duo commenced with the customary raga Hamsadhwani and mesmerized with many lilting ragas for the audience mainly consisting of IT sector employees.
BIAF 2013 saw many people at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for the presentation by Impulse in collaboration with British Council. The evening commenced with a program by Nrityantar, an Odissi dance school headed by Madhulita Mohapatra. Aesthetically choreographed and well presented the dance numbers by Madhulita and her student Sonalika added beauty to the entire mood.
With great expectations the audience waited for the Impulse presentation. ‘Tear drops on dust’ supported by British Council, had B-boying and Kathak fusion which was fine combination with 2 male dancers from UK and Kathak dancer from India with a vibrant drummer to accompany them. There was a constant resonating sound to which the drummer played according to the steps of the dancers on stage. It was free flow of dance, where each dancer took separate turns to show their movement while the others remained on stage with minimal movements. Sambalpuri dance from Orissa which is known for its colourful and vibrant steps was performed by the girls from Nrityantar school.
BIAF was held in Malleswaram Grounds which was filled with young crowd on Saturday evening for the Malleswaram Youth Festival in association with Dr. C N Ashwath Narayan Foundation. The festival commenced with dance by Shraddha Dance Centre of Shama Krishna. After this fine performance, Drishti Dance Ensemble performed four different items by the students of Anuradha Vikrant. The coordination of the dancers was commendable. Then the colleges impressed with their creative steps. Govt First Grade College, KLE College, Mount Carmel College, MES College, Ammani College, Ramaiah Medical College presented fusion dance, contemporary dance, fashion show with energy and zeal. The grand finale was the show by Praveen D Rao with Yuvagni, the troupe with many young artistes. They first sang a folk song Chaluvayya chaluvo, a kolattam based song. There was also a special song on Jog Falls interspersed with the song on Maha Ganapathim.
Opus hosted music band by Gaurav Vaz in memory of pop star Michael Jackson. The beautiful ambience of Opus made the music more appealing. The crowd was overjoyed with many old songs of MJ which was well presented by Gaurav Vaz and group.
BIAF hosted Veena Festival in association with Veena Foundation, New Delhi, at Indian Institute of World Culture. The key note was given by MN Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India and the grand recital began with duet by Geetha Ramanand and Revathy Murthy. Shanthi Rao and group continued the festival ending with Yogavandana and group. Many Thyagaraja kritis were played with each style representing its uniqueness in each bani.
Chowdiah Memorial Hall saw full auditorium for the dance drama by Samanvay and Bhaava Tarangam by the Dhananjayans. The evening began with ‘Ganga Gowri Vilasam’ by Samanvay. Anuradha Vikranth adorning the role of Gowri, the dancing concert of Lord Shiva, danced with vigour and lasya choreographed by Veena Murthy Vijay. The role of Ganga aptly suited Shama Krishna, with her beautiful karana movements. Surya Rao as Lord Shiva was aptly cast, his leaps and turns with the long hair following his movements, with the backdrop of Kailash done by only lighting. The story’s main character was the sutradara played by Veena Murthy Vijay, who unveiled the whole story with her narrations and her entry was always awaited since the sutradara is the person who makes Ganga meet Shiva, makes Gowri get angry with Shiva, instigate the fight between Ganga and Gowri and in the end merge the three into one. The accompanying dancers also did their parts well.
The second part of the evening featured VP Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan with their senior disciples. They began with the scene from Ramayana, where Manthara played by Shantha Dhananjayan deviates the mind of Kaikeyi, who demands of Dasaratha played by Dhananjayan of Rama’s vanavasam. The dance was aptly supported by Shantha Dhananjayan on the nattuvangam, vocal by MK Rajesh, mridangam by KP Ramesh Babu, flute by Sunil Kumar and violin by Brijesh Balakrishnan.
The program commenced with performance by the students of Mauritius Tamil Cultural Centre Trust. They began with a dance which portrayed the immigrants landing in Grand Port in 1943 and represented the hard work and sacrifice that they have gone through. The dance concluded with Shanthi Nilava Vendum, a song in Tamil. The choreography was by Ramalingam Senthil Arunachalam.
The second show of the evening was the drama titled ‘Importance of being Draupadi.’ The drama unfolded with a conversation of two people talking about the drama to be presented. The play had timely and subtle humour and the seriousness of the play continued till the last dialogue. Vasuki, the snake chief of Pathala, desired Draupadi, who is known for her alluring beauty. He was confronted by Arjuna but in vain. Later, after the request by Draupadi with Karna, Vasuki was defeated by Karna. When wondering where this story appears in Mahabharata, the sutradara informs that it was a derivation from the Bheel’s Mahabharata. Directed by Prakash Belawadi and written by Krishnan Rangaraju, the thought provoking play entertained the packed Chowdiah Memorial Hall.
The final day of Bengaluru International Arts Festival 2013 took place at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. BIAF hosted the 50 Veena Ensemble ‘Naada Tarangini’ led by Dr. Suma Sudhindra. The veena artistes and percussion group led by Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma began their mesmerizing recital with a varnam “Vanajakshi” in Kalyani ragam set to adi tala. A few songs selected by the team were “Mahaganapathim” in ragam Naattai set to eka tala, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar, apart from other compositions. 'Priya Tharangini' a composition by Suma Sudhindra was a highlight. A melody of 5 ragas ending with 'Priya' - Karaharapriya, Gayakapriya, Rathipathipriya, Bhakthapriya and Rasikapriya – was each in different talam. The tough and unique rhythmic structures were performed with impeccable coordination. Some of the renowned artistes who participated in Naada Tarangini were Anuradha Madhusudan, N Ramu, Tara Krishnamurthy and Srilatha.